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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

American Pharoah Settled In; Far Right Seeks Upset


American Pharoah has enough points to make the Kentucky Derby now, but that's not the end of the story, said trainer Bob Baffert.

“He shipped well and has been doing great since he got there,” Baffert said today. “We’re excited about the race and looking forward to it. We’re not thinking about the points. The main thing right now is to take one race at a time. Hopefully, he runs well and comes out of it well. Every time he runs, we learn more and more about him.”

Baffert, who saddled Santa Anita winner Dortmund last Saturday, said that the other big 3-year-old in the barn merits the respect he has garnered as he heads into the Arkansas Derby.

“The odds are pretty short, but Dortmund’s were as well last week,” said Baffert. “This time of year they’re starting to separate themselves from the rest. He’s exciting to watch, and he deserves to be the favorite.”

On Thursday, American Pharoah galloped one mile under exercise rider Jorge Alvez, who traveled from California with him.

Far From Over

Far Right is the most accomplished 3-year-old based at Oaklawn throughout the meeting, and he seeks to take three of the four Kentucky Derby preps there after skipping the Rebel Stakes.

“Ready for action,” trainer Ron Moquett said Thursday. “He’s doing unbelievable, so I’m very happy with how he comes into the race.”

Mike Smith is again scheduled to ride Far Right, the early 9-2 second wagering choice. American Pharoah is the 1-2 program favorite.

Madefromlucky Ready for Rematch

Todd Pletcher said Madefromlucky, runner-up to American Pharoah in the Rebel, , is ready for the rematch, this time at a longer distance of 1 1/8 mile.

The son of Lookin At Lucky ran a credible race that day, but was no match for American Pharoah, losing by 6 1/4 lengths. However, the handsome chestnut colt with a strong resemblance to his sire Lookin at Lucky appears to be bigger and more physically mature in the month since the Rebel.

Pletcher said he last thing he wants a speed duel with the favorite.

“I don’t think he can do that, so we’ll hope that someone goes out there with American Pharoah and keeps the pace honest,” said Pletcher. “Hopefully a mile-and-an-eighth with help us. I think he wants to run farther, and he’s already won at a mile and an eighth. I just hope there’s an honest pace up front.”

Madefromlucky currently sits in 21st place on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard.

“It’s pretty much it’s now or never to earn those Derby points. We’ve got to figure out the next step for him and where we belong, and this race should help us clarify that,” Pletcher said.

Lukas Says He Remains Confident in Mr. Z

Mr. Z, still eligible for an entry-level allowance race, is scheduled to try and rekindle his flickering Kentucky Derby hopes.

Lukas is wheeling Mr. Z back after a last-place finish in the Louisiana Derby amid skepticism.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Lukas, who turns 80 Sept. 2. “I know we get criticized for running him. My take on that is I don’t think you guys have ever trained one, never have owned one, never put anything into the game and, yet, you have all these opinions on what we should do and shouldn’t do. So I don’t pay any attention to it.”

Mr. Z has lost 10 consecutive times since winning his June 28 career debut at Churchill Downs. During that period, the Malibu Moon colt has lost some close calls in big races, including the Delta Jackpot and the Los Alamitos Futurity, against top-shelf competition.

Lukas said he has no explanation for Mr. Z’s poor performance in the Louisiana Derby, but Mr. Z is again wearing blinkers after Lukas removed the equipment for that race. The colt, in company, worked a half-mile in :48.20 Monday morning.

“He’s having a good week, so we’ll see what happens,” Lukas said. “Not that he hasn’t faced these horses before.”

Mr. Z is 10-1 on the morning line for the Arkansas Derby. Although he and American Phaoroah are owned by Zayat Stables, they are separate betting interests.

Edited Oaklawn release with additional content by Dick Downey


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